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Minister Johnny Mercer says MoD 'supporting' convicted killer

Johnny Mercer

Minister Johnny Mercer says MoD 'supporting' convicted killer

The UK Minister for Veterans is facing calls to explain a tweet he sent following the conviction of a former soldier for manslaughter.

David Holden, a former member of the Grenadier Guards, was convicted in Belfast yesterday of shooting an unarmed man, Aidan McAnespie, in the back at an army checkpoint in 1988.

Shortly after the verdict, Johnny Mercer, the Minister for Veterans, took to Twitter to write, "I acknowledge the result of the trial of David Holden in Belfast today. I remain committed to our manifesto promises made in 2019. David is being supported in all respects by MOD colleagues at this time."

The Peace Pledge Union (PPU), Britian's leading pacifist network, insisted that the Ministry of Defence must explain if and how they are "supporting" Holden "in all respects", as Mercer says.

Mercer has long argued that veterans are being unfairly prosecuted, despite the reality that British armed forces personnel and veterans are almost never convicted of war-related crimes.

The Daily Telegraph last night quoted an unnamed "government source" alleging that the judge had been biased and the trial unfair, although no evidence was provided for this claim. There is likely to be speculation that the source was Mercer.

Symon Hill, Campaigns Manager of the Peace Pledge Union (PPU), said: